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Best Mac internet security software

Included in this guide:

Best Mac internet security software
Editor's Choice: Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac
Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac does a great job recognizing and protecting against both Mac and Windows malware. It comes with parental controls and enough licenses to secure three computers and laptops.

Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac does a great job recognizing and protecting against both Mac and Windows malware. It comes with parental controls and enough licenses to secure three computers and laptops.

We spent 300 hours testing Mac internet security solutions using 165 live Mac malware samples to find the best antivirus software for you. 

We watched how each program responded, with some internet security programs only stopping a few downloads while others immediately quarantined the entire folder before each individual threat could start downloading. 

After this initial step, we performed deep virus scans to see if the programs could find those threats missed during the download. We compared the threats we knew were released to those found by the Mac protection software and used these findings to determine a protection score. 

Our own findings were compared to other test labs to assign an overall malware protection score to each Mac internet security solution.

We feel Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac is the best overall program because of its ability to hunt down and eradicate Mac and Windows threats alike. 

It comes with several privacy and protection tools, plus three user licenses to protect multiple devices for a good price. 

ProductPriceOverall RatingValueTest ResultsMalware ProtectionsPrivacy ToolsMinimum Number of LicensesIn-House Mac Malware ProtectionOverall Mac Malware ProtectionWindows Malware DetectionEase of UseRansomware DetectionAntiphishingSpam FiltersPersonal FirewallSecure BrowsingVulnerability ScansUSB ScanningSocial Network ProtectionPassword ManagerParent ControlsSecure DeleteSafe Banking ToolsVPNWeekday Phone Support Hours (Eastern Time)Weekend Phone Support AvailableLive Chat
Bitdefender Antivirus for MacView Deal4.5/$-24/7
Webroot SecureAnywhere Internet Security PlusView Deal4.5/5108.57.88.53100%98%80%70%-$--$24/7*-
Norton Security StandardView Deal4.5/56.89.310101100%100%75%90%$$24/7
Avast Security for Mac PremiumView Deal4.5/579.51081100%99%95%80%---24/7-
Trend Micro Antivirus for MacView Deal4.5/ - 8pm*
Kaspersky Internet Security for MacView Deal4.5/57.5105.8101100%100%95%90%----24/7*
AVG AntiVirus for MacView Deal4.5/$24/7*-
F-Secure SAFEView Deal4/$$9am - 6pm-
Sophos Home PremiumView Deal4/5107.55.861078%78%95%65%-------8am - 8pm-
Intego Mac Premium Bundle X9View Deal4/ - 5pm

Best Overall

Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac

Reasons to buy
+Great protection from both Mac and Windows threats+Includes a VPN+Comes with three user licenses
Reasons to avoid
-Is a little tricky to use-Doesn’t include a firewall-Password protections not included

We are impressed with how well Bitdefender recognizes and blocks malware designed to attack Mac computers and laptops. As our test folder began downloading and opening infected files, Bitdefender quickly blocked most of the threats before they could get loose. These were taken care of quickly and permanently without even landing in the quarantine folder.

There were a few viruses that snuck by Bitdefender because they were hidden in files designed to look legitimate. But after a deep scan, the program found them. Overall, this Mac internet security program was 99 percent effective at malware detection and protection in our in-house tests.
Another perk of Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac is it comes with a vulnerability scanner and a VPN. The vulnerability scanner looks for weak spots in your system, like outdated programs, and gives you solutions to fix them. This helps keep hackers and ransomware from sneaking in. The VPN makes you invisible online so adware, identity thieves and other snoops can’t see, track or log what you do online. And while most of the time browser history is used to create targeted ads, there are also keyloggers and other malware that can snatch this information to steal your identity.

Read the full review

Best Free Antivirus

AVG Security for Mac

Reasons to buy
+Available for free+Detects both Mac and Windows threats very well+Is easy to set up and use
Reasons to avoid
-Doesn’t include parental controls or a firewall-Vulnerability scanner must be installed separately-Has several in-program and pop-up ads

AVG Security for Mac was 100 percent accurate at protecting our computer from Mac malware samples in our testing. When we started to download our test file, AVG quarantined the entire folder rather than let each individual file loose before stopping them. Most Mac security programs we tested weren’t this aggressive, so we were really impressed.

It also correctly identified and stopped 95 percent of the Windows malware we used in our testing. This is one of the highest scores we saw, and it’s a good indication you won’t accidentally send on a dangerous threat to your family or friends who use Windows computers.
This free Mac internet security program is one of the easiest to use. It didn’t require us to jump through too many hoops to get it downloaded or set up. Each tool on the AVG dashboard is represented with large icons that are red when they aren’t active. This makes the program easy to work with. AVG Security for Mac comes with spam filters, antiphishing tools and a vulnerability scanner to help secure other parts of your system from hackers.

Read the full review

Best for Multiple Devices

Norton Security Standard

Reasons to buy
+Compatible with Mac, Windows, Android and iOS devices+Offers excellent protection against Mac malware+Includes more security tools than most Mac programs
Reasons to avoid
-Costs more than most Mac solutions-Doesn’t detect Windows threats on Mac devices very well-Browser safeties take a while to set up

Norton Security Standard is one of the few programs we reviewed that is compatible with multiple devices and operating systems without requiring a different module for each one. The same program you download to your Mac computer is the exact same program that is downloaded to Windows computers, iPhones and Android cellphones.

This Mac internet security program comes with a personal firewall, a vulnerability scanner, spam filters and a password manager that works on every device. The parental controls can also be used on both computers and mobile devices to block dangerous content from your children and limiting how much time they spend online. On top of blocking internet threats from downloading to your computer, Norton warns you if a site is dangerous. If you enter a website’s URL in the address bar, Norton displays a warning message before letting you continue. When using a search engine, Norton will put an icon next to each result letting you know if the site is safe to visit. The biggest drawback of Norton Security is its price. It costs more for a single license than most other internet security programs, with several competitors offering multiple licenses for cheaper.

Read the full review

Intego Mac Premium Bundle

Reasons to buy
+Designed specifically for Mac computers and laptops
Reasons to avoid
-Doesn’t stop Windows threats

Intego is specifically designed to work on Mac computers and works with Mac operating system programs like Finder, Mail and Safari.

Intego Mac Premium is a bundle of programs that includes VirusBarrier, ContentBarrier, NetBarrier and WashingMachine. You don’t have to use each of these programs, but together they provide you with ultimate security with Mac virus protection, parental controls, a personal firewall and a system scrubber. If you plug your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch into your computer, Intego scans them and clears any threats so malware can’t be passed on to your computer. It also monitors incoming email messages for any spam or phishing schemes. The only drawback we saw is Intego doesn’t recognize Windows malware that sneak onto Mac computers very well. While these threats won’t affect your computer, they can be accidentally passed on to Windows users.

Read the full review

Avast Security for Mac Pro

Reasons to buy
+Works in tandem with other security systems
Reasons to avoid
-Doesn’t include parental controls

One of the best features of Avast Security is it works alongside other antivirus and internet security programs without a problem.

This means if you already have a good Mac security solution, but would like a second layer of protection, or double firewalls, you can use Avast. Avast recognizes when it needs to run in the background, or if it should step up and become the first line of defense without you having to play too much with its controls. Avast Security for Mac Pro also has some extra tools that aren’t found with other security software, like a VPN, system scanner and password manager. So, you can download and use Avast for just those features. Avast does a great job detecting and protecting against Mac malware, but it also does a decent job blocking Windows threats, too, so you don’t accidentally pass them on to PC users.

Read the full review

Once you've decided on the best Mac internet security software for your Apple device, there are a few other precautions you can do to make sure you and your family stay safe online. We've rounded up the best web browsers as a good starting point, while you might also want to take a look at our best internet filter software buying guide.

Why Trust Us

For over 15 years we have been researching and testing internet security software. We devote hundreds of hours each year to physically downloading, using and testing dozens of the most popular Mac internet security programs to learn which are the best.

We know the ins and outs of the industry by forming relationships with leading internet security experts, subscribing to news outlets and blogs that alert us of any new breaches or threats, so we can ensure the products we recommend are safe when you need them.

Before we start testing, we look to industry experts to ensure that our testing methodologies represent true user experiences, are ethical and will provide us with enough data to evaluate each program fairly. Some of these experts are professional hackers that are hired by companies to look for vulnerabilities and understand how malware works and the best defenses against it. Others are the system analysts of companies, including the healthcare industry, where keeping tabs on systems and updating security measures are important to the sensitive information kept on them. We also refer to the standards set by the Anti-Malware Testing Standards Organization, or AMTSO, and the testing methodologies and results of other testing laboratories, including AV-Test and AV-Comparatives.

How We Tested

We started our testing of Mac internet security software by downloading and opening a folder of 165 malware threats. We watched how each program responded, with some internet security programs only stopping a few downloads while others immediately quarantined the entire folder before each individual threat could start downloading. After this initial step, we performed deep virus scans to see if the programs could find those threats missed during the download. We compared the threats we knew were released to those found by the Mac protection software and used these findings to determine a protection score. Our own findings were compared to other test labs to assign an overall malware protection score to each Mac internet security solution.

We ran another to see how well Mac antivirus programs detect and remove Windows threats. Even though Windows malware doesn’t affect Mac computers, these viruses can accidentally be sent through email, USB drives or other file sharing methods and infect a Windows user when the infected file is opened. This wasn’t given as much weight as Mac malware detection, but it is still an important point to consider.

Our final test was to look at the extra security and privacy tools included with each program. Internet security programs for Mac should include more protections than standard antivirus software. Some tools we specifically looked for were a personal firewall, parental controls, password managers and vulnerability scans. These are the most important tools, beyond malware detection, that you need to stay protected online. Some programs include features designed to shield important information while you bank or shop online, and others look at links and files shared on social media pages and let you know if any of them are dangerous. A handful of programs include a VPN that makes you invisible online so browser history can’t be recorded, tracked or used to create targeted ads.

Do you need virus protection on a Mac?

Most of the virus and ransomware attacks you hear about target Windows machines, but there has been a steady increase in malware designed to attack Mac computers and laptops, too. In fact, we used test files with over 160 threats developed only for Mac devices as part of our evaluation of the best internet security software for Mac.

Even with the great security measures that come standard with Mac computers and laptops, there are several Mac viruses that slip by. And we noticed that even with safe browsing extensions enabled in Safari and Chrome, Mac malware typically wasn’t tagged and stopped before downloading like Windows threats were. Several of the threats were packaged in a way that looked like legitimate add-ons or Mac programs. Often it wasn’t apparent it was malicious until we reached the very last file in the folder and watched the havoc happen.

Even if your Mac is never infected with a virus, you can download files with Windows malware lurking in them without knowing. When passed along in email, USB storage devices or even posted online, Windows users can become infected with these threats. The best Mac internet security programs can detect and remove Windows threats along with Mac viruses keeping you and your friends, family and coworkers safe from malware.

How do I clean viruses from my Mac?

We found the hardest part of manually removing viruses from Mac machines was tracking down the infected file because often it looked like a legitimate folder or program. There are a few websites that list common threats, where they are typically located and how to recognize them. But this can turn into a long, complicated task. Software, like Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac, tracks down these threats for you, and will automatically delete them so you don’t have to deal with them at all. In fact, we found that Bitdefender was one of the best at being able to recognize the difference between the threat and a legitimate file while others had to ask us to double check them before permanently deleting them. And other programs left some of the threats alone because they were so well disguised as genuine folders.

Some antivirus software developers offer free virus scans on their websites, including F-Secure. However, most of these simply tell you if your devices are infected and the names of these threats. A few will tell you where they are located, and the majority require you to still manually remove them. Overall, we highly recommend investing in an internet security program compatible with your Mac to help you, first prevent infection in the first place, and with locating and removing threats if they do sneak in.

How much does Mac internet security cost?

Mac Internet Security software costs on average between $60 and $90, with the best programs including multiple user licenses so you can protect between three and 10 devices at once. These solutions often come with mobile protection so both your mobile devices and your home computers and laptops are protected. Internet security software is a step up from basic Mac antivirus programs that cost about $50 for a single license and don’t include the same number of protection tools as Mac internet security software.

What is the best antivirus for Windows 10?

After months of testing antivirus software using live malware samples, we learned that Bitdefender is the best antivirus solution for both Mac and Windows computers. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus, the Windows 10 version of the software, also comes with a VPN, file shredder and password manager. One of the best features of Bitdefender in both the Mac and Windows versions of the program is its secure delete. This function scrubs stopped and captured malware from your computer without leaving any trace of the threat behind. This prevents the malware from infecting your computer after it has been quarantined or even deleted.

Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2019 is also the best value for Windows antivirus software. It comes with more security tools that other antivirus program and with a minimum of five user licenses that let you secure several Windows computers at once for a decent price.

Nicole Johnston

Nicole writes for multiple Future Publishing brands covering topics from antivirus to kitchen appliances to SAS. She has over 15 years of research and writing experience, including eight years of testing and reviewing consumer products. Nicole earned bachelor’s degrees in both English and Political Science with a focus on empirical research. In her spare time, Nicole serves as a member of several school councils and volunteers for a local arts board.